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Layman Anatomy: Differences between an artery and a vein

Layman Anatomy: Differences between an artery and a vein

You might have wondered if arteries and veins are the same, after all, they both transport blood around the body. This article will show you the differences between an artery and a vein even though they both act as blood conveying pipes in the body.

Before that, let’s take a cursory look at the types of arteries and veins that exist.

Types of artery

It will interest you to know that there are 3 types of arteries;

1. Elastic arteries: these arteries are flexible.

2. Muscular arteries: they contain smooth muscles (autonomously controlled) that allow the artery to contract and relax.

3. The third kind of artery is the arterioles. They are the smallest type of arteries.

Types of veins

In like manner, the vein is of 3 types, namely;

1. Deep veins: just as the name implies, they are located deep inside the body.

2. Superficial veins: they are found close to the surface of the skin.

3. Connecting veins; they act as connecting channels between the superficial vein and the deep vein.

Differences between an artery and a vein

1. An artery carries blood away from the heart. A vein, on the other hand, carries blood from other parts of the body to the heart.

2. An artery carries oxygenated blood (blood that contains oxygen). The vein carries deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

There is however an exemption to this. There is an artery called the pulmonary artery. It does not carry oxygenated blood, and the pulmonary vein does not carry deoxygenated blood.

3. Veins can be seen on the surface of the skin. Arteries on the other hand cannot be seen on the skin’s surface.

5. In terms of colour, arteries are red while veins are blue.

6. The artery is what the doctor gets hold of when he wants to check a pulse rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute). A pulse cannot be detected in a vein.

7. An artery has a high oxygen content and a low percentage of carbon dioxide. In the vein, the reverse is the case.

8. The walls of an artery are more rigid than the walls of a vein.


Arteries and veins make blood circulation around the body possible. While the artery leaves with blood from the heart, the vein returns the blood to the heart.

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